Kate Andrews – Homemade Thin-Crust Pizza (St. Thomas, Canada)

Our main source of entertainment outside of screens has been eating! Trying to make fun meals and meals that involve the kids. Pizza is a go to- home made crust and a variety of toppings. Everyone can think of ingredients and make up different combinations.

Homemade Thin-Crust Pizza

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided

Toppings:

  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce, such as classic red sauce or a white sauce
  • 1 to 2 cups shredded cheese: one or a combination of mozzarella, provolone, Parmesan, fontina, romano, or asiago cheese
  • Topping options: sautéed onions or mushrooms, sliced red peppers, pepperoni, cooked sausage, cooked bacon, etc.

Instructions:

Find the instructions here.

Terri Martin – Tomato Tarte Tatin (Muskoka, Canada)

They say crises also create opportunities. The stay at home orders that we’ve all been experiencing have definitely had an effect on us! Normally, my husband and I are social animals…we love to experience new things, eat at new restaurants as well as our favourites again and again. Usually, our home cooking was more of the healthy “eating to live” style vs “living to eat!” Part of this is because our personal time and business time are routinely blended being in the real estate business. Fortunately for us real estate is classified as an essential service and this has allowed us to continue to have more mobility than most albeit in what we refer to as the new normal… live stream walk-throughs, lots of video and online marketing etc.

Restaurants for the most part have been closed or with limited takeout menus. This brings us to those opportunities I mentioned at the beginning. Cooking has become a renewed passion…not that it will ever replace our love of dining out. We experienced this phenomenon for home cooking when we were fortunate to have taken a 6 month sabbatical in France. We learned that the French truly have a love for food… fresh, real food and taking the time to really enjoy it. Eating there is an experience and it is culturally ingrained. They do not believe in GMOs; they only eat fresh veggies or fruits that are in season and bread recipes are legislated by the government and sauces are everything!

We have been really tasting the food we have been making…in an unrushed way like we did in France. Once I got past the amount of planning that was required (trying to only go to the grocery store once a week after a habit of going almost daily like in France), with my husband enthusiastically taking on the sous chef role, we were off to the races!

For years, I have been following a blog from a couple who have a pretty little home in Provence in the south of France. One of our favorite recipes is one that they posted a while ago: tomato tarte tatin.

The amazing contrast of the tart tomatoes along with the sweetness of the caramelized onions and sauce makes this tarte so delicious!

Take time to enjoy! Bon appetite!

Tomato Tarte Tatin

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds medium size tomatoes. (On a couple of occasions, I used different color tomatoes)
  • 3 medium red onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped Thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 14 ounces puff pastry. You will have extra. Freeze the leftover for another dish.
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup crystallized sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons water
  • 1/3 teaspoon Sherry vinegar

Instructions:

Find the instructions here.

Krystle Martin – Apple ‘n’ Oats (Whitby, Canada)

During COVID19 I have fortunately been able to continue working from home. I have 2 young girls (11 & 9) who have also been home with me as school is closed. While I can acknowledge the seriousness of the pandemic situation, I have enjoyed being home and relished the slower pace of life. I no longer am driving to work or my children to school or lessons. Life is much less rushed and so the beginning of each day feels so different. I have taken to having my coffee on my back deck and when my girls are with me (I have a 50-50 custody arrangement), they sometimes have their breakfast outside too. The recipe I have included is one that was inspired by a video I saw on TikTok (the pandemic has me hooked!): it is quick and easy, plus really delicious for breakfast. Given that mornings are still a bit crisp in our Canadian springtime weather, the warm apples keep my girls toasty while still being outside. What is so special about this activity is that it wouldn’t have happened if the restrictions of COVID19 weren’t in place as I would be rushing them off to school and myself into work. The new pace of these mornings means that we can be together and start our day off with such a different vibe. I feel very lucky that my family and I have stayed healthy during this health crisis and I wish I could hold onto these mornings…

Apple ‘n’ Oats

Ingredients:

  • 2 apples, cored and chopped into bite-size pieces (leave skin on)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of large flake oats
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • sprinkle of brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp water

Instructions:

  1. Melt butter on medium heat in large pan.
  2. Once melted, add chopped apples.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, saute apples for approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Add in remainder of ingredients.
  5. Continue to saute until desired softness of apples.

Recipe Notes:

Any type of apples seem to work – just depends on your taste and consistency preference.

Serves: 2

Mandy Martin – Pumpkin Bread (Singapore)

I wake. Is it morning? I let one eye open a sliver, peering through heavy eyelashes at the slit in my blackout curtains. 6:48? I check… 6:45. This is the first simple delight I experience in the day. Just two minutes off! I burrow deeper under my heavy covers (silly for equator climate, but I can’t help myself), letting my body slink further into the embrace of my mattress. I confirm that yes, it was worth schlepping it all the way from Vegas to Singapore. Now, I wait.

I wait for the ‘pat pat pat’ of tiny, heavy feet. A few minutes later I’m rewarded. I sneak a look to see just the top of my wee one’s wispy, blonde, toddler-mulleted head, bobbing around the foot of my bed. As with every morning in the past few months, I pretend to be asleep. She stands there for a full minute – just looking at me, watching me – with an armful of stuffies. Her still-pudgy hand finally reaches out and touches my face, so gently. She’s always been gentle.

I break into a grin and say, as I always do, “Good morning my sweet little peach! I’m so so sooooo happy to see you!”  After several excited hops, she and her creatures snuggle in beside me. “Closer, Mama!” We stay wrapped up in each other, whispering and giggling in my big bed for 25 minutes. No longer do I have the ‘up and at ‘em’ mentality I used to have.  And let me tell you. It. Is. Glorious.

I’m lucky. So far, I’ve kept my job and am able to work flexibly from home. I have help, allowing me to actually do that work from home, for the most part. The video bombs – just yesterday my little one barged in during a budget call, squealing and smacking me in the face with a balloon – have made every one of us more human, more relatable. I like this. I’ve always liked blending work with home, preferring to befriend colleagues as I’d rather work with friends. And it’s entertaining to see dogs making cameos, to inspect the art behind on the walls. In a way, the switch from meeting room to living room has brought us closer.

I’m also sad. We arrived in our new country not long before the pandemic hit – just us two gals, 15,000 kilometres away from friends and family. While we had our logistical lives set up – a home, a school, a bus pass, a library card – we were just starting to set up our human lives – friends, community, connection. We had been experiencing our own version of social distancing for months before the official one as newbies in a new place. And when social distancing became mandated, I began to feel even more isolated and alone. In the innocent and brutal way that only 3 year olds can muster, I felt it when my little asked, “Why do we have not many friends in Singapo, Mama?” Ouch. Sorry, baby girl. I’m trying. And we will. When everything opens.

Ah, when everything opens. This has become the mantra in our home. “Yes, we can definitely practice jumping in the pool with no floatie! When everything opens.” “Oh, you bet we can go to a restronk for bee hoon again! When everything opens.” “The beach with Livia and Louie? Yup! When everything opens, my love.” She seems satisfied with that, taking it as fact and moving on. Littles are remarkably resilient; bigs, perhaps less so.

But I’m doing my best and we are marching along. We bike 25 kilometres every other day – well, I bike and my little rides behind in an attached wagon donned with a tall, bright orange flag. We’ve scooted on, balance biked, and trekked every street and every block as far as her short legs will take us. When I can’t possibly make the argument for ‘exercising outside’ any more, we get creative and silly at home. We’ve constructed a three-metre-long toilet paper roll slide/tunnel for mini cars, had a pull-up hat day, created our own plastic bin ‘pool’ on our tiny balcony, and made an epic obstacle course complete with a parachute roof.

And we’re not alone. Video chats with Gammie and Papa, Uncle J, Auntie and nieces, and friends from home have kept us feeling connected and loved. I’ve received so many ‘checking in’ messages that I know others are out there, thinking of me as I do them, both old friends from faraway places and new friends close by. And wine on a video date isn’t drinking alone, right? Right. Glad we’re in agreement. In the case of dating, while it can feel limiting to discover if a potential partner’s thoughts and ideas fit well with my own before fully knowing if their hand fits well in mine, I’m willing to give it a go. We’ve settled on texting, chatting, planning, and even old-school letter writing – it’s what we’ve got. I’ve even baked cookies and sent them! It’ll be an interesting ‘how did you meet’ story, if anything.

Oh, the baking we’ve baked. My little and I are baking up a STORM! Pumpkin bread, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, pizza, apple crumble – you name it. Some have been a big hit; others a big flop. We’ve got a good rhythm – I measure, she pours. I beat, she stirs. I scoop, she tastes. She tastes again. And again. “Little peach, you’re going to get a tummy ache… And there’ll not be enough to bake!” “Ok, Mama….  But, just one more scoop!” Of course, I always relent. We enjoy the finished product as soon as it’s barely cool enough to eat. Then we deliver half to our neighbours and keep the rest for ourselves. Repeat. This newly-formed routine was where the idea of BITTOC was imagined. My story isn’t incredible or shocking, but it’s mine. Ours. It’s real. And (sometimes) delicious. And it made me want to discover others’ stories and goodie recipes, too.

At the end of the day, the extra time I’ve gotten to spend with my daughter – slowing down, in our comfy clothes, messy-hair-don’t-care – this is a gift I’m incredibly grateful for. Even if I do wear comfy clothes partially because I’m nervous that the plethora of pumpkin bread has made wearing normal clothes unlikely. Eek! Back to that bike…

Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 15-oz can 100% pure pumpkin

Instructions:

Find the instructions here.